Q:

How do you manage constipation when you have a colostomy?

A:

Quick Answer

To manage constipation with a colostomy, remember the way you managed the problem prior to surgery and use the same techniques, but avoid the use of laxatives without first talking to a doctor, advises the American Cancer Society. Some constipation can be relieved with a change in diet.

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Full Answer

To get food moving through the system, try a warm bath to relax the muscles in the abdomen, the American Cancer Society suggests. Increase the fluids you consume, and make positional changes, such as bringing the knees toward your chest.

Constipation is often caused by what enters the digestive tract, according to the American Cancer Society, but some high fiber foods such as cabbage, celery, coconut and greens can cause a blockage with a colostomy. Medication and stress are other factors that can lead to constipation.

If constipation causes pain and cramping and there is no output for the stoma for over two hours, call your ostomy nurse or doctor. If they cannot be reached, take all your ostomy supplies and go to the emergency room, advises the American Cancer Society.

A nutritionist can help plan a diet that decreases the chances of developing either constipation or diarrhea without interfering with the colostomy, according to WebMD. Eating a balanced diet and taking care of the stoma helps to prevent complications from the procedure.

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